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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Monday, June 23, 2008

Protect Private Property, Enforce the Fifth Amendment, Says Bob Barr

Three years ago today the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Kelo v. City of New London, undercutting the Constitution’s protection against the unlawful taking of private property. “In Kelo the Supreme Court held that government could take private property to give away to private developers so government could collect more tax revenue,” explains Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president. “That allows governments across America to ignore the Fifth Amendment’s clear requirement that property be taken only for a ‘public use’,” Barr adds.

Many states responded to Kelo by restricting the use of eminent domain to conform to the Constitution’s language rather than to the Court’s interpretation. But abuses still occur. Thus, “the president should direct all federal departments and agencies to avoid the seizure of private property except as a last resort, and for a legitimate public purpose,” says Barr. Congress should similarly restrict any federal grant money to states and localities.

“Even though the Supreme Court has improperly minimized the scope of the Fifth Amendment, every public official who takes an oath to the Constitution has a responsibility to respect the nation’s fundamental law,” notes Barr. “The president and members of Congress should act only in accordance with the Constitution’s clear guarantee for the right to private property.”

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